On February 8, representatives from various sectors of the Andean countries and the European Union discussed bi-regional relations during the seminar titled "Opportunities for the Andean Countries in European Union Cooperation: Global Gateway, Investments, Trade, and Green and Digital Transitions," organised by the EU-LAC Foundation and the General Secretariat of the Andean Community (CAN).
During the event's inauguration, Dr. Adrián Bonilla, Executive Director of the EU-LAC Foundation, emphasised the relevance of the partnership between the EU and the Andean countries. He also underscored that the III EU-CELAC Summit was a crucial opportunity to resume relations in various areas.
On his part, the Secretary General of the Andean Community, Ambassador Gonzalo Gutiérrez, highlighted the importance of this seminar as a milestone to advance cooperation between both parties and address global challenges. He emphasised the key role of interconnection between the CAN and the EU countries.
The seminar contributed to subregional and bi-regional dialogue, providing greater visibility to the schemes offered by European cooperation to contribute to the sustainable development of the Andean countries, especially in digital, green, and fair transitions, innovation, and sustainable development. Participants in this subregional and multi-actor event included political and technical representatives from the Andean countries and the EU, international and multilateral organisations, the private sector, civil society, experts, and academics.
During the event, four central themes were discussed: the EU-ALC Global Gateway investment initiative: a partnership for the future; ten years of the trade agreement: assessment and prospects for better utilization; challenges and opportunities of the green transition for sustainable and fair development; and dimensions of fair digital transformation for economic growth.
Attendees highlighted key aspects for advancing the relationship between the EU and the Andean Community, including identifying new cooperation opportunities with the EU and enhancing visibility of existing ones, especially within the framework of the Global Gateway investment initiative. They also emphasised the need for a multidisciplinary analysis of the bi-regional relationship to formulate improvement proposals, including policy evaluations.
Additionally, participants stressed the importance of exchanging information on challenges and opportunities for cooperation and the implementation of policies and projects that promote digital transformation and transitions to green, fair, and sustainable economies. They also emphasised promoting active participation in the bi-regional agenda of vulnerable social groups in the Andean nations, such as women, indigenous communities, youth, etc.
During the seminar, proposals were made to reformulate policies that strengthen political and cooperation relations between the Andean countries and the European Union. A report summarising the main topics of the discussions will be prepared and will serve as input for the High Authorities of the Andean countries and the EU.